Thomas Hill is a lonely embalmer who’s in some big trouble – his ex-boyfriend has been forcing him to illegally sell dangerous chemicals with no signs of stopping, and Tom doesn’t know what to do. His situation gets even more complicated when Cypress Holmes, a smoking hot local florist, walks in on Tom making a deal. Cypress agrees to keep quiet, but his silence comes at a price.
He wants Tom to do exactly as he says and to give him complete and total control over his body at all times. Tom now has no choice but to obey Cypress’s every command to stay out of jail. But when Cypress starts spanking him and tying him up, he realizes he doesn’t mind the rough treatment at all. With or without the threat of blackmail hanging over his head, he likes what Cypress does to him… and he doesn’t want it to stop.
Author’s Note: This book includes intense sexual scenes, rough spankings, and depictions of death and embalming as they relate to the funeral industry. If this material offends or may upset you, please don’t read this book.
Book Title: The Last One to Let You Down
Author: K.L. Hiers
Cover Artist: Covers by Jo
Release Date: November 13, 2020
Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, BDSM Romance
Trope/s: Funeral Director/Florist Romance, Blackmail Leads to Love, BDSM Virgin
Themes: Personal Growth, Dealing with Death, Difficult Jobs,
Learning to Love Yourself
Heat Rating: 5 flames
Length: 102 000 words
It is a standalone story.
Tom was an embalmer, and he’d been working at Crosby-Ayers Funeral Home in Mayfield, North Carolina, for over ten years. He’d done his apprenticeship there after graduating mortuary school and had stayed on once he’d gotten his license. The funeral home was busy enough to support him working solely as an embalmer, and he didn’t have to meet with families like Aaron, who was a funeral director.
Aaron had the right look for it. He was handsome, olive skinned with curly black hair and a confident smile. He could offer sympathy with ease and wore a suit well.
Tom… not so much.
He felt like a silly kid playing dress-up when he wore a suit, and they were always too tight no matter how much he tried to lose the stubborn weight he carried around his stomach and thighs. He was only wearing one today because he thought he was going to have to help out on a funeral.
They hadn’t needed him after all, which was fine by Tom. He didn’t do well with the living, and he’d been told more than once that he came off as creepy.
He was quite pale with chin length mousy brown hair, and his big blue eyes gave him an owlish appearance. He thought it made him look startled or afraid, not quite right for instilling confidence in a family that he was going to help them through their difficult time.
It also didn’t help that he was painfully shy.
Fortunately for Tom, his embalming talents usually kept him in the preparation room and away from families. His specialty was restorative art, repairing those who had suffered traumatic deaths so that their families could see them again.
The woman he had just finished was a Mrs. Jan Winslow, who had died on a Friday, and her body was not found until Monday. During that time, her beloved Pomeranian, Mister Doodles, had eaten the entire right half of her face.
“Walk me through it,” Aaron asked eagerly. “Like, tell me how you do it?”
“Well, you can’t do anything really until after you’ve embalmed them.” Tom stood up and stretched, peeling off his gloves and dropping them into the biohazard trash. “Makeup and the wax we use doesn’t stick that great to unembalmed skin. Slides right off if you’re not careful.
“The next step is cauterizing all of that exposed tissue. Embalming helps dry it out some, but you really wanna make sure it doesn’t leak so we use other chemicals, cauterants like Dryene, to help. Once the skin is good and dry, then we start filling.”
“What do you fill it with? I mean, I saw her before. There was a lot… missing.”
“You can use a bunch of different things depending on how big the wound is,” Tom replied, pulling open the prep room door and ushering Aaron out into the hallway.
It was often full of freshly delivered caskets, stretchers, and bags from the linen service, and today was no different. Tom had to carefully navigate around two caskets and a stack of towels, trying to lead Aaron back out to the offices to continue their conversation.
“Old school embalmers would use newspaper or cotton,” Tom went on, grabbing his suit jacket off the rack by the office door. “These days, they actually make compounds called ‘wound filler’ to well, fill wounds. And then—” He paused when he heard a loud slam, glancing back over his shoulder to see what it was.
At the other end of the hall were three doors. The one on the right led into the walk-in cooler, the one directly opposite the office door was an exit that led into the side parking lot, and the one on the left connected the hallway to the garage. The coaches and limos were stored there, and there was a special door in the corner for flower deliveries.
All of the doors for employees required a code to enter except for that one, and it stayed unlocked during business hours for flower deliveries. Someone could get inside the garage to drop off arrangements, but they wouldn’t be able to get into the hallway.
The hallway door to the garage had been left propped open, probably from a casket being delivered earlier, and the sound Tom had heard was the flower delivery door slamming inside the garage. As his heart began to pound in anticipation, he forgot all about Aaron.
HFG might be here.
Hot Flower Guy.
“Hey, where are you going?” Aaron protested.
“Just go to the office!” Tom called back, already halfway back down the hall. “I’ll meet you in there!”
“Okay,” Aaron replied reluctantly. “Then you’ll finish telling me about wound filler stuff?”
“Scout’s honor!” Tom slowed down as he approached the open door, putting his jacket on and trying not to appear too eager as he stepped inside the garage. He broke into a huge smile when he saw it was HFG in all of his bulging glory.
HFG was black, tall, and broad with thick shoulders and an even thicker beard framing his dark brown face, and Tom had daydreamed about running his hands all over his body. They had barely even spoken more than a few words, but Tom had a definite crush.
The funeral home hours didn’t give Tom much freedom and being on call almost every night killed any chance of an active social life. After a nasty breakup followed by a disappointing string of one night stands through dating apps, he’d committed to staying single until the funeral home hired more help.
In the meantime, he’d grown quite fond of HFG’s deliveries. He didn’t even know his name, but he’d been trying to find out for weeks. HFG was always in and out too quickly to ever strike up a conversation, and Tom wanted a name to go with that gorgeous face.
It didn’t matter that HFG was painfully out of his league—unless he happened to be into pasty white brunettes who had never grown out of their baby fat with big chins and an awkward little gap between their front teeth.
Tom had been cruelly teased about his smile since he was a little kid, no doubt the root of his introverted nature, but he was too excited about seeing HFG to care for once. As he stepped into the garage, however, his joy instantly faded.
HFG was there, but he was arguing with the assistant manager of the funeral home, Gerald Ayers.
Gerald was a prick.
No, he was the absolute king of pricks.
Lesson learned. No more by this author. Honestly, I didn’t remember the author’s name as anything I had read before. But I did. And, well… let’s just say my fondness hasn’t grown.
I wanted to like it. Slightly overweight guy who works at a funeral home, black guy who owns and runs his families floral shop. Some BDSM. A little mystery as a plot. But no.
First, the BDSM was so sloppy. I mean, they went to a “house party” were not only was there drinking, but the dungeon master was acting as a bartender. Cypress did not come off as a real Dom, more like a guy playing as a Dom.
And, honestly, I love learning new things in books. But the pages and pages and pages of procedures for embalming someone were just a little too much.
Tom is whiny and needy and it is not attractive at all. Even with Cypress making him do affirmations in the mirror everyday didn’t help. Sorry, but I laughed out loud when Tom was fighting with his ex and called himself a tiger.
I won’t continue. I think you get the gist. Oh, there really should be a suicide trigger warning as well.
2 pieces of eye candy
K.L. “Kat” Hiers is an embalmer, restorative artist, and queer writer. Licensed in both funeral directing and funeral service, she’s been working in the death industry for nearly a decade. Her first love was always telling stories, and she has been writing for over twenty years, penning her very first book at just eight years old. Publishers generally do not accept manuscripts in Hello Kitty notebooks, however, but she never gave up.
Following the success of her first novel, Cold Hard Cash, she now enjoys writing professionally, focusing on spinning tales of sultry passion, exotic worlds, and emotional journeys. She loves attending horror movie conventions and indulging in cosplay of her favorite characters. She lives in Zebulon, NC, with her husband and their children, some of whom have paws and a few that only pretend to because they think it’s cute.